The IEF Seminars Project (and the local community organizations) functions as a mini-university where thousands of people who do not usually participate in public life learn how to define their own interests, negotiate them intentionally with the interests of others and thereby develop a more concrete understanding of the common good. This understanding emerges through ongoing conversations that lead to collaborative action and thereby generate trust, empathy, reciprocity and solidarity.
Since 1990, the IEF has brought together academics and journalists into more than 160 daylong conversations with thousands of ordinary citizens committed to educating themselves and their neighbors to improve the lives of their children and families. These seminars take what is best about the university world – serious research, deliberation, discussion, argumentation and reflection – and tie it directly to the experiences of families and communities as they consider the organizing work in which they engage at home. In contrast to lectures, these seminars are designed as conversations between scholars and writers of national prominence, and institutional leaders embedded in local institutions.
Seminar guests have included Ronald White, Richard Rorty, Cornel West, Tamara Eskenazi, Stanley Hauerwas, Walter Brueggemann, Jorge Castañeda, James, Cone, Elliot Dorf, Charles Lindblom, Robert Kuttner, Robert (Bob) Moses, Mary Jo & Richard Murnane, Paul Osterman, Robert Putnam, Jeffrey Stout, Norm Glickman, Paul Woodruff, Teresa Ghilarducci and more.
For a complete list of seminar guests click here.
See a few examples of recent seminars here.